Thomas Scoffin & Kristen Streifel
U SPORTS and Curling Canada announced Thursday that the 2018 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships will be held in Leduc, Alta., hosted by the Alberta Golden Bears and Pandas.
This is the second time the Golden Bears and Pandas have hosted the University Championship, the last coming in 2010 at the Saville Community Sports Centre in Edmonton. The University of Alberta Curling program has won four national titles, two each by the Bears and Pandas, and a combined 12 medals since 2009.
The winners of the 2018 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships will also earn the right to represent the red and white at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Last month, Alberta’s Kelsey Rocque and Wilfrid Laurier’s Aaron squires competed at the 2017 FISU Games in Almaty, Kazakhstan following their victories at the 2016 U SPORTS Championships, with Rocque’s rink earning Canada’s lone gold medal of the competition.
"We're really excited to be hosting the USPORTS/Curling Canada Championship, especially in a year when the winners will represent Canada at Universiade.” said Golden Bears and Pandas Curling program head coach Rob Krepps. “And, with the Nationals moving into an arena for the first time, our curlers will get a chance to experience the same playing conditions and environment that the elite teams in our sport enjoy on a regular basis."
The U SPORTS national championship, set for March 24-28, 2018, will be one of four curling events held next year at the Leduc Recreation Centre just outside of Edmonton, in addition to the 2018 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championship, the 2018 Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship and the 2018 Canadian Mixed Doubles Championship.
“U SPORTS is very pleased to continue its commitment to university curling in Canada. Partnering with Curling Canada and one of our sport partners, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, as well as the University of Alberta and the University of Alberta-Augustana, will raise the bar by providing university athletes with the opportunity to compete on stadium ice,” said Graham Brown, CEO of U SPORTS. "One of our goals for university sport in Canada is to build relationships with our sport partners and universities to enhance the student-athlete experiences at U SPORTS national championships. Providing a curling festival concept in a curling community like Leduc does just that.”
The Memorial Sea-Hawks (men) and Laurentian Voyageurs (women) won gold at the 2017 U SPORTS/Curling Canada Curling Championships on Mar. 22 at the Fort William Curling Club in Thunder Bay, Ont. The Sea-Hawks captured their second national curling banner and first since 2011, while the Voyageurs were crowned U SPORTS curling champions for the first time in program history.
“The Leduc curling community is in for an absolute treat as these four national championships present a wide spectrum of curling at its highest level,” said Peter Inch, Chair of Curling Canada’s Board of Governors. “It’ll be a wonderful opportunity for curling fans in Leduc and the Greater Edmonton area to embrace four events at once, and we know that based on past events in Leduc that the visiting athletes, officials and fans will go home with smiles on their faces.”